Shoreham-Wading River forward Juliana Mahan takes the foul shot against...

Shoreham-Wading River forward Juliana Mahan takes the foul shot against Bayport-Blue Point in a Suffolk League VI girls basketball game Wednesday at Shoreham-Wading River. Credit: George A Faella

They weren’t exactly keeping a tally, but Juliana Mahan knew there were multiple shots near the basket she was missing that were unlike her. The Shoreham-Wading River senior expected better from herself and in the crucial moments, better happened.

“In the heat of the moment, the adrenaline’s pumping, but I knew I couldn’t let that get to me,” Mahan said. “I knew I had to shake it off and (coach Adam Lievre) turned to me from the bench and said, ‘You owe me.’ ”

Mahan cashed in. She hit back-to-back layups over 40 seconds late in the fourth quarter to give Shoreham-Wading River a 13-point lead in its 54-46 home victory over Bayport-Blue Point in each team’s Suffolk League VI girls basketball opener on Wednesday.

“Once I hit those two, I was like ‘OK, we’re back,’ ” said Mahan, who scored 15 points. “(Bayport-Blue Point was) creeping back and I told everyone, ‘We got this. It’s nothing to worry about. We’ve been here before. We’re more than capable of doing it so once I hit those, I had all the faith in us.' ”

Shoreham-Wading River never trailed after taking a 4-3 lead, but Bayport-Blue Point went on a few runs to shrink the Wildcats’ advantage. Shoreham-Wading River led 31-20 at halftime but a 9-2 run by the Phantoms to open the third quarter cut the Wildcats’ lead to 33-29. Alyssa Bell made a pivotal steal in the closing seconds of the third quarter before finding Mahan for a layup to take a 45-35 advantage as the buzzer went off.

“We just always had an answer and it would kind of shut down their confidence and make them realize this was a (tough) game,” Bell said. “We were going to give them competition so we were definitely able to shake them, rattle them and show that we’re here to play.”

“When Alyssa made that play, I told her afterward that I wished there was no timeout because we had all the momentum,” Mahan said.

Grayce Kitchen added 11 points and Bell had nine points. Ava Meyn had 17 points and Kate Lemery added 13 points for Bayport-Blue Point.

Mahan is the lone returning starter from the Wildcats’ Suffolk Class A championship team last season, winning its first county crown in program history.

“We know coming from last year we have a target on our back so everyone’s coming for us,” Mahan said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s teams we beat by 50 last year or if it’s teams we beat by two last year, it does not matter. They are going to come after us.”

But even though a few opportunities escaped Mahan, Lievre is confident in the senior’s ability to lead the team and make timely baskets, as she did late on Wednesday.

“Now that’s her,” Lievre said. “She’s the mother of the team, she has that personality and she really wants it. She really wants to get back to where we were last year. I know when she misses a tough shot, she knows it and I think I maybe said a couple of things to her like she owed me. But she’s confident and I think she’s really grown tremendously and now this is her team. So we’re going to rely on her to make a few more of those shots.”

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